My ten-year old son wants to understand everything. He is a voracious reader and doesn't confine himself to kids books. He loves reading the newspaper (NYTimes, Boston Globe), fiction, and non-fiction books. He's old enough to really learn things by reading. Agatha Christie is fun, but he's ready for more than that. He's full of questions about society, politics, science, economics. I'd like to get him some books that will expand his mind, begin answering his questions, and show him how the world fits together. [more inside]
I'm curious to read up on folks who decided give up one life for another, entirely different life. Could be individuals or entire families. Could be a different career, a different place in the world, a different identity. Extra points for a bunch of profiles of this sort of thing. Also, they don't have to be happy endings, necessarily. Stories of chasing the dream and failing are fine, too. I've taken a look for this sort of thing, and I'm a little surprised I haven't turned anything up.
When my mother was a child, she had a book that was 100 short biographies of "great men of history". I am wondering if such a book exists for the modern age. [more inside]
For a friend's birthday, we are looking for good recent (last 5 - 10 years) biographies or autobiographies. Books are best (and available as paper rather than ebooks), though if there is an excellent movie available as a dvd that would work also. [more inside]
I'm interested in the historical fact that there were individuals (and families) who were fiercely loyal to a royal family and served them. In terms of suggestions from most to least ideal, I'm interested in (1) biographies that depict this loyalty, (2) fictional depictions of this loyalty, and (3) individuals who this describes. And to be a bit more clear on the situation I'm interested in: (1) the individual served the royal family in some significant capacity and perhaps ideally had a personal relationship with the royal family (they weren't just peasants who admired the royal family from afar), and (2) the individual was ideologically supportive if not passionate about the royal family and the monarch (they weren't just performing their duties to make a living). Thanks!
How do you decide which biography to read when there are several for a given person? [more inside]
My four-year-old is as obsessed with Hamilton as I am. He is full of Alexander Hamilton facts and keeps sing "Oceans rise, empires faaaaaaall" with Broadway gestures. We need some high-quality Founding Father (and/or Mother!) children's books! Obviously the big gets are the guys from the musical: Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. But we will also accept Franklin, Jay, lesser founders, and assorted wives and girlfriends. And I suppose Aaron Burr, sir. [more inside]
Two or so years ago, I read the beginning of a biography of a writer, probably a poet. I know he was a young man in England during World War I who was not able to serve in the war due to a medical condition. But that is all I am certain about -- I have vague memories of a few further details that I could easily be confusing with stories from other people's lives, or even from novels. [more inside]
My aunt mentioned that she would like a biography of Pope Francis. So I naively thought I'd just go online and buy her one. But of course it turns out that there are lots and lots of biographies. Which one should I get? [more inside]
I'd like to learn more about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. What biographies should I read? [more inside]
I think a lot of (speculative fiction author) Robert Sheckley's work is brilliant and masterful. Especially the stuff he published in the 1950s and 1960s. But I've wondered for years why there was such a sharp decline in quality in it around the 1970s and thereafter. Does anybody know? [more inside]
Looking for biographical material about Claude Monet. Want to know something about his inner life, not so much his place in art history. I want to know about his ideas about gardening, life, love and family. Not much out there I can find.
I am working on a partially biographical essay about a well-known writer who died in the past ten years, leaving an extensive collection of papers and correspondence. I will meet with his literary executor soon. However, I have realized that I don't have a clear sense of an executor's responsibilities or what it is appropriate to expect. For example, is it reasonable to request access to materials that are not yet archived? Help me with the rules and etiquette of primary biographical research so that I can establish a good working relationship with the executor.
Listening to the Hardcore History podcast about Ghengis Khan recently, I was reminded of a set of flash-card type things that I remember having when I was growing up. The cards featured a picture of a "great person" on the front, and a short write-up about him or her (but honestly I think they were mostly men) on the back. Can you help me find a set of them? [more inside]
Tell me the history books you've read that you could not put down. History of just about anything, but especially historically significant people, say, before WWI. [more inside]
I'm looking for books or blogs about actors trying to break into show business. Fiction or non-fiction. [more inside]
I'm looking to read about the interesting, fascinating, and crazy lives people have lived. Any recommendations for biographies of people that have led fascinating lives?
My cousin was married for years to an infamous criminal and all-around bad guy--let's call him John. John is infamous only to people in and scholars of his particular professional sector; the world at large isn't aware of him. John is no longer living. ~20 years ago, a local reporter wrote a book about him, which of course included his wife, my cousin. The book made a brief stir but was quickly forgotten, my cousin has moved on, and life continues ... except I've recently heard rumors that someone may have optioned the book for a movie. So now what? [more inside]
I'm neck deep in writing an academic book at the moment, and on the worst days I lose the will to live. To dislodge myself from the daily temptation to nuke the whole manuscript, slit my wrists and be done with it all, I've been trying to keep motivated by reading good accounts of the life of writers. I would love recommendations! Details inside. [more inside]
I am looking for something in the area of science biography. Particularly, I enjoy reading about the inner lives of great minds. I'm not really interested in gossipy type info, but more about the personal growth and development of the scientist him/herself that paralleled their work. [more inside]
I'm interested in stories (real or fictional) about people who have intentionally changed their identities following some sort of disaster in which they were presumed dead.
What are some books, cookery or otherwise about food, that contain stories about people's memories of/experiences with food and eating? [more inside]
I just finished reading Jeremy Adelman's biography of Albert O. Hirschman. I loved the book because it vividly explained Hirschman's ideas (he was an economist and scholar of political thought) and because Hirschman had a fascinating and compelling life story. Can you recommend biographies of major thinkers in the social sciences and philosophy?
Can you recommend any well regarded biographies where the subject dies long before the end of the book? (The latter half of the book could be focused on the reaction to their death, an examination of the impact of their ideas or work over the following decades, etc.)
The texas clocktower shooter had a diary seen here that looks like it was published but where can I read it?
I'd like them to be gripping and entertaining as well. As in, I could read them before going to bed without falling asleep out of boredom. Focus on successful entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists.
I don't know how else to phrase this maladroit and overlong "question," but… who are the foreign undergraduate and graduate students? [more inside]
I believe I may suffer from a derth of artistic and intellectual heroes. Help me fix that. What artists and thinkers are worth engaging with fully as an adult? By "engaging with fully," I mean making a concerted effort to consume all of their output, several times, as well as seeking out supplementary information about them by way of interviews, criticism, documentaries, collected letters, biographies, etc. etc. [more inside]
After viewing the excellent "A Man for All Seasons" IMDb and the BBC's Kierkegaard - Sea of Faith YouTube I'm in want of viewing other portraryls of noted authors & philosphers. What are your recommendations? [more inside]
Documentaries about ordinary people, their secrets and inner lives. [more inside]
Recommend to me biographies/histories of the Borgia Pope and family? [more inside]
Help me find a way to get others to tell stories about my long-deceased father online. I'm thinking a Wikipedia-type, open-source place where folks can go and log in (or not) and add their portions of the story of his life. I imagine childhood friends sharing vignettes from 5th grade, high school girlfriends, co-workers, people I don't have access to adding stories.
Where can I find job descriptions for jobs from the 1850s-1950s? [more inside]
Britain is famed for celebrating its eccentrics, followed closely by America and Ireland. Elsewhere - maybe not so much. I'm sure they must exist, but I'm having trouble finding them. [more inside]
Which biography of Nikola Tesla should I read?
Looking for more memoirs from scientists, along the lines of Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Robert Sopolsky's A Primate's Memoir, and Daniel Everett's Don't Sleep There Are Snakes. [more inside]
I like first-person accounts of intellectual/professional adventure. What should I be reading? [more inside]
Books on writing a memoir, with extra credit: not your own [more inside]
Biography recommendations for Thomas Jefferson? [more inside]
I'm looking for examples (biographies, documentaries, blogs...any format, really) about people who made the decision to completely change the direction of their lives, particularly folks who went from a typical "day job/corporate career" into something less mainstream. [more inside]
How did reading a biography learn you a valuable lesson, help you gain a crucial insight, change your worldview or impact you in some other, non-trivial way? [more inside]
Loved Bossypants by Tina Fey! Looking for more comedic autobiographies (bonus points if the audio version is read by the author).
Help me think of a word that describes a fawning biography. [more inside]
What's the best, most readable biography of Daniel Webster? [more inside]
I'm looking for inspirational stories of people with a vision they're passionate about, and the work ethic to accomplish what they set out to. Tales that make you come away thinking "Yes, that is how I want to be living my life" and charge you up for the work you're doing. They don't have to be people you'd generally admire or seek to emulate - whatever their goals, it's that spark/drive/dedication/grit I'm most interested in. [more inside]
Good Roy Lichtenstein biography? [more inside]
Recommend some good books about bikes? [more inside]
Internet estate curation, or: How to get a better biography of an author "out there"? [more inside]
What are the best biographies/autobiographies/memoirs/novels for inspiration and psyching up? [more inside]
I have been enjoying reading memoirs lately and would like some suggestions for more books I might enjoy. [more inside]